Heartworm Prevention Options in 2016

By:  Dr. Hilary Slaven

Every year seems to bring another new product to the veterinary world for prevention of heartworm disease in our beloved pets.  And of course we still have a few products that we’ve had for years that are familiar.

Heartworms are worms that are spread by mosquitos from pet to pet.  They literally live in the heart and lungs and cause disease and death in affected animals.  For a recap on heartworm disease, check out our previous blog “Heartworms:  What’s the Deal?”

Another great website for learning about this disease is Veterinary Partner.com.  To view this site, click here for dogs and here for cats.

We have known about this devastating disease for decades now and have some effective drugs that protect and prevent these worms from growing inside your furry friend’s body.  As we have previously discussed, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to this disease.  Dog treatment is difficult on a dog’s body, it’s expensive, and takes at least 4-6 months to complete.  Cats often cannot be treated for the worms themselves, and get supportive care only.

Prevention is the key.  With a number of products on the market, we can find a product that fits into your lifestyle and your budget and also protects your furry friend.

Think about the cost of treating a dog that is infested with worms, or the cost of getting fleas out of your house!

Another plus:  many heartworm prevention pills also deworm your pet at the same time.  There are even some that kill fleas, too!  All in one pill dose.  It’s amazing, truly.

Let’s discuss the products that we are going to keep on hand here at WCVS during the coming year, 2016.

  • Proheart 6 :
    • An injectable product that prevents heartworm disease for 6 months.  The injection is given in the clinic. This product is very convenient for many owners.
    • Remember that it does not deworm for intestinal parasites, so many owners will bring in stool samples every 6 months when it is time for injection and deworm if necessary.
  • Interceptor Plus:
    • A monthly chicken-flavored chewable tablet that prevents heartworm disease for 30 days.
    • This chew kills heartworm microfilaria, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms.
  • Trifexis:
    • A monthly chewable tablet that prevents heartworm disease for 30 days.
    • This tablet kills heartworm microfilaria, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and fleas.
    • Prevents flea infestations in the home.

Remember:  With any heartworm prevention product, we need to have a negative heartworm blood test before giving any kind of prevention.  This requires a small blood sample from your pet and an in-house test.  This is simple to do and results are quick!

Next blog:  Flea and tick prevention options for 2016